Our policy and guidelines for good research conduct - ESRC

We have a duty to ensure that the research we support is carried out to the highest standards of scientific and ethical practice. Researchers are required to be responsible and accountable for maintaining these standards throughout the conduct of their research. Failure to maintain these standards is unacceptable.

All research organisations (ROs) in receipt of ESRC funds are required to have procedures in place for governing research practice to ensure sound scientific conduct, as set out in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) policy and guidelines on governance of good research conduct. This guidance identifies requirements on reporting and investigation of unacceptable research conduct.

The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) Code of Practice for Research and the European Science Foundation’s European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity are reference tools for ROs to use in conjunction with their own codes of practice for research, along with other relevant  guidance on research conduct, such as that provided by UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and the Council for Science and Technology.

The UKRIO Code of Practice for Research includes a one-page recommended checklist for researchers. This is a non-technical checklist which summarises the key points of good practice in research, based upon the more detailed standards provided in the code. Use of the benchmarks contained in the code can assist ROs in fulfilling the requirements of regulatory, funding and other relevant bodies. The UKRIO checklist may be used by research and ethics committees (RECs) in addition to their own REC forms.

ROs should have procedures in place for investigating and reporting unacceptable research conduct as set out in the UUK Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2012) and the UKRI policy and guidelines on governance of good research conduct. We also endorse the published code of practice for research by the UK Research Integrity Office and its guidance on the procedure for the investigation of misconduct in research.

Further information

UK Government: Rigour, respect, responsibility: a universal ethical code for scientists 

European Science Foundation: European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity

UK Research Integrity Office: Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice and preventing misconduct 

UK Research Integrity Office: Recommended checklist for researchers

Science Europe: Research integrity

OECD Global Science Forum, Investigating Research Misconduct Allegations in International Collaborative Research Projects: a practical guide (2009)

Last updated: 18 December 2023

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